Archive for the ‘Human Resources Management’ Category

Compensation Rises as Top Contributor to Job Satisfaction for Employees

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

money blogAccording to a recent research report by The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), employees in the US are now connecting their compensation to their happiness at work. The report, Job Satisfaction and Engagement: The Road to Economic Recovery, revealed that when asked what was very important to them, 60 percent of the participants said compensation/pay, which made it the biggest contributor to job satisfaction. SHRM conducted the survey in 2013 and polled 600 randomly selected employees at small to large companies.

Compensation/pay held the top spot in the employee satisfaction survey before the recession hit, specifically between 2006 and 2007. During the years of the recession, compensation/pay held lower rankings. SHRM conducts this survey annually.

“Incomes have grown slowly since the recession, and that undoubtedly is having an impact on workers’ priorities and one explanation for the leap to the forefront by compensation,” said Evren Esen, director of SHRM’s Survey Research Center.

Other noteworthy data the survey showed include that four generations of workers ranked compensation/pay as either the top or second-choice aspect of job satisfaction and employees at all job levels, with the exception of executives, ranked compensation/pay as one of the top three contributors to overall job satisfaction.

For more information on how compensation affects job satisfaction, retention and recruiting, please join us for the 2014 Compensation and Benefits Conference at the McKimmon Center on August 14 and August 15. Specific presentations that will focus on employee compensation and salary data include:

The Future of Attraction, Retention and Motivation: How Compensation Fits into the Process Anne Ruddy – WorldatWork

Leverage Marketplace Trends When Making Decisions about Compensation and Benefits Strategies Molly Hegeman – CAI

Taking the Mystery Out of Salary Survey Data Sherry Hubbard-Bednasz – CAI

Proactive Uses of Compensation Analysis – An Employer’s Perspective Kaleigh Ferraro – CAI & Member Company Panel

Additional topics presenters will cover include: why performance management fails, driving engagement and reinforcing culture, building high-performing teams, controlling healthcare costs, wage and hour regulations, retirement planning, and more! Visit www.capital.org/compconf for detailed information about speakers and session topics. Register today!

Photo Source: Miran Rijavec Stan Dalone

 

 

Using Collaborative Learning to Increase Critical Thinking

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

In today’s post, CAI’s Peer Learning Recruiter, Jennifer Montalvo, shares the benefits that collaborative learning can bring to an organization.

Jennifer Montalvo, Peer Learning Recruiter

Jennifer Montalvo, Peer Learning Recruiter

Strong collaboration in a work environment is crucial to the success of any company. However, how much thought is given to learning collaboratively? When professionals are paired together in small groups, collaborative learning encourages the achievement of professional goals. According to Virginia Tech’s Journal of Technology Education (vol.7 no.1), collaborative learning enhances critical thinking. This concept is not something new; rather a notion measured and proven over many years.

The act of exchanging ideas within small groups not only increases interest, but promotes critical thinking. The members of these small groups are allowed the opportunity to engage in discussion, take responsibility for their own learning and strengthen their ability to actively and skillfully conceptualize information. We currently live in the world of the continuous “busy.” Being in a group such as this allows the learner to slow down, share, listen and evaluate themselves and others.

Participants in collaborative learning environments experienced the following benefits:

  • Improved understanding of issues presented
  • Shared knowledge and experience
  • Receiving and giving of helpful feedback
  • Higher level thinking ability
  • Openness to new perspectives

The time spent participating in collaborative learning opportunities also affected the social and emotional well-being of participants in the following ways:

  • Problem solving felt easier, and almost enjoyable, in a relaxed, trusting environment
  • Greater responsibility – not just for self but for the group as well
  • New relationships built and growth of professional network

One way CAI promotes collaborative learning is through our peer learning groups. For more information please see http://j.mp/pe-er, or contact me directly at jennifer.montalvo@capital.org or 919‑431‑6093.

Consider enhancing your critical thinking skills within the workplace by incorporating collaborative learning amongst peers.

 

Tough Conversations with Underperforming Employees

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

In today’s post, Advice and Resolution team member Renee’ Watkins offers advice to prepare for tough conversations about performance with employees who aren’t meeting expectations.

Renee' Watkins, HR Advisor

Renee’ Watkins, HR Advisor

From time to time, every manager must deal with an employee or team member who is not performing up to their potential or the demands of their position. So, what is the best way to deliver that message to the employee so as to make it clear their performance is less than expected and changes must be made if they are to continue in their current role?

Below are some suggestions that may help. Some of these may work better than others, depending on the personalities of the employee and manager, and the relationship between the two.

Make sure you are direct

Be direct when speaking with the employee. If you beat-around-the-bush, your meaning may come across as unclear or unimportant. By being direct and clear in your message, you are giving the employee every chance to take the initiative and improve their performance. If they fail to understand the importance of your message, they may not take it seriously enough to change.

Cite specifics

When talking with the employee about their performance, make sure you cite specific examples. There has to have been some trigger, or set of events, that led you to have this conversation with them. Detail these examples so the employee will be able to visualize what you are seeing and understand how their action (or lack of action) is hurting the organization. These kinds of details will help you to make your point.

Remind the employee of expectations

Performance standards and consequences should always be set up front with new employees during onboarding. Therefore, this type of conversation should simply be a reminder of expectations they are already aware of. You expect the best out of everyone, from start to finish, every day. Most employees will work to improve their performance, while others may decide to simply skate by and offer their bare minimum effort. Take opportunities and make time to discuss progress or lack thereof. Document the discussions, expectations and consequences.

Deliver a formal write-up

This will provide a detailed evaluation and documentation of their current performance, putting them on notice that their position with the company is in jeopardy if improvement is not made and maintained. Verbal warnings can and should be documented. A properly constructed written warning following your policy leaves no doubt as to the issues, expectations and consequences.

Owning their own fate

During a period of re-evaluation of their performance, work with the employee to set realistic goals to be achieved. Once agreed to, the ball is in the employee’s court to succeed or fail. If successful, be sure and attribute the credit to their determination. If they fail, however, you have to be strong enough not to accept any excuses for not meeting their goals. Their fate is in their hands and they must be held accountable.

Have a solid, clear policy in place

By the time you reach a point where their continued employment is in jeopardy, the employee should not be surprised by this conversation. Regular performance reviews and a clear policy on disciplinary action for poor performance should already be in place and communicated. This is their opportunity for improvement and you have stated the importance of this message. There is no excuse for their not understanding what is about to happen if their performance does not improve.

If you have questions about taking disciplinary action with underperforming employees, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution team at 919‑878‑9222 or 336‑668‑7746.

Handle Issues with Employees Carefully

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

The following post is by Bruce Clarke, CAI’s CEO and President. The article originally appeared in Bruce’s News and Observer Column, The View from HR.

blog pic bcIt happens in every workplace. The same serious and unlawful misbehavior we see in our communities sometimes find its way to the job.

People are the greatest asset of an employer but can be the “crabgrass in the lawn of business,” as my friend says.

What should happen when harassment, discrimination, abusive treatment and other serious misbehaviors rear their ugly heads?

Managers, please view a complaint as an opportunity to make a situation better and the long-term relationship with the victim stronger. Psychologists in workplace studies say that an emotional crisis is a key point where your response can make the employee’s attitude much better or much worse. Some even say that the best predictor of whether a problem will end in a lawsuit is how fairly you process the problem, not the problem itself.

Good managers do several things. They embrace the complaint, rather than avoid it, and focus on finding the right solution. Neither of you caused the problem, so let the chips fall where they may and avoid prejudgment. You will create a much better investigation and solution if you remain neutral on the outcome. If you cannot be objective, ask for help.

Follow through with good listening, appropriate pushback to the victim for the whole story, and appropriate speed and discretion. Take any quick steps needed to prevent repeat behavior while you work. Ideally, keep the victim informed of your progress. Get help from HR or a mentor. Follow your company’s complaint process, at a minimum. Precedent can be important, but avoid a foolish consistency as the saying goes.

Employees making complaints have an equally important role. Follow the complaint policy if there is one, but skip to another manager you trust if needed. Your manager wants to hear how you feel but must have facts to investigate. Focus on the facts. Who can help support your story? Bring the problem to a trusted manager sooner rather than later.

Be honest about any part you may have played in the problem or steps you have already taken, good and bad. Have some discretion and give this time to work. What is your manager going to hear when he or she investigates? For example, be prepared to hear some things about your performance you may not like (but need to hear) if work quality is an issue.

An important question that employees and managers often fail to ask is: “What is the ideal outcome here?” I am often surprised at how reasonable employees can be even in serious situations. They know employers cannot guarantee perfect behavior by all. But they have the right to expect help when they seek it.

Proper handling can solve early-stage problems, preserving relationships and protecting careers.

Problems that are buried like a bone in the backyard will only get worse with age.

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/01/23/936135/handle-workers-gripes-carefully.html#storylink=cpy

 

6 Reasons Taking Your Vacation Will Improve Your Work Performance

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

7956465780_5fb7b6d55a_zSummer is on its way. If you haven’t taken a vacation already and aren’t planning to do so, I would ask you to consider taking your time off.

You will enjoy a number of benefits when you use your vacation days. Some people prefer to work all of the time and some people have to work all of the time, but in either case, taking some time off, even just a few days, will improve your work performance.

Productivity generally lowers during the summer months. Taking a vacation will help you avoid being sluggish around the workplace. Check out the six benefits of using your vacation time below:

  • Spending time outside of work will help you focus on the important things in your life that do not revolve around your work, such as family and friends.
  • Your mind can relax. Taking time off will allow your mind to take a break, get some rest, and work at its optimal level when you return to the workplace.
  • A good vacation is greatly beneficial for those in roles that require creative and innovative thinking. Not focusing on your busy work week will enable you to get inspired and recharge your creative energy.
  • You can use your free time to complete tasks, get errands done or dedicate to yourself. Carving out time for the things you enjoy will improve your satisfaction in other areas of your life, like work.
  • Time away from work can help you figure out an issue that is currently stumping you in the workplace. Walking away from the problem and returning after a relaxing vacation can have you looking at the same issue from a different perspective.
  • Keep yourself healthy by taking a breather from your position. Stress and pressure are released when you’re not focused on your responsibilities at work, which allows you to sleep better, concentrate longer and be happier.

Make sure to use your vacation time this summer. For any questions regarding vacation time and its many benefits, please call CAI’s Advice and Resolution team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Kevin Dooley

 

 

 

Helping Employees Deal With Stress

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

In today’s post, Advice and Resolution team member Renee’ Watkins shares ways in which you can help your employees deal with workplace related stress.

Renee' Watkins, HR Advisor

Renee’ Watkins, HR Advisor

Stress in the workplace can lead to other health issues. Workers who are highly stressed are less likely to exercise, get enough sleep or eat healthy. High levels of stress over a prolonged period of time can also lead to stomach ulcers, hypertension, headaches and injuries due to distraction.

Signs your employees are under a high level of stress include: changes in attitude, a decrease in performance, missing deadlines, consistently late for work, withdrawal and increases in sick leave.

Many companies have taken the time to establish a formal stress-reduction program to assist their employees in managing stress in the workplace. However, if you do not have a formal program in place, there are a number of ways to help your employees identify and manage their own stress.

Post the following tips in common areas of the workplace as a way of helping employees who may feel stress and not quite sure how to handle it.

Take note of your own stress level and the things that cause you stress. Pay attention to the signals your body sends to let you know you are carrying too much stress.

Understand how you deal with stress. Is stress causing you to pick up or increase unhealthy habits such as smoking, drinking or eating poorly? Has your attitude at worked suffered?

Disconnect whenever possible. When not at work, turn off your cell phone and stay off of email. If your job requires connectivity outside of normal work hours, set specific times when you will return calls and emails, and stick to that schedule in order to have some time away from work.

Maintain a list of tasks. Constantly keeping a list in your head of everything you need to do can be overwhelming. Make a list of everything you need to do and then divide it by today, tomorrow, and so on. Separate work-related tasks from non-work-related tasks. This will make your workload appear smaller and more manageable, thus reducing stress.

Accept responsibility for your own stress levels. Regardless of what is actually causing your stress, the real issue is how you react to it.

Take short breaks several times each day. This may not seem like much, but a two minute walk away from your desk and computer several times a day will help you to stay focused and energized. Take a short walk, breathe deeply, stretch your back and clear your head of thoughts.

Find time for yourself. There will always be plenty going on at work and at home. Once a task is completed, there will be several more to take its place. It is very important to take time out to exercise and eat healthy. Read a good book or take up a hobby that interests you.

Change your thinking. Try not to set goals for yourself that cannot be realized or depend too heavily on someone else. Unrealistic goals will set you up for failure and cause even more stress. Lower your expectations for perfection and be satisfied with putting forth your best effort each day.

Conflict and confrontations can cause enormous stress. Try to work things out calmly and find room for compromise whenever possible. Resolve conflicts quickly to eliminate stress more quickly and to prevent conflicts from growing larger and stronger.

Seek help when available. Friends and family members can help you better manage your stress levels. Employer-based EAP services such as counseling, work/life blend programs and access to mental health professionals may be available to you as well.

A Strong Partnership Between HR Leaders and CFOs Improves Business Performance

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

6861256042_0b37739bcd_zCompanies that have a strong relationship between their CFOs and chief human resources officers (CHROs) are linked to superior business performance. Professional services organization EY found these results from its global survey, Partnering for performance, which shared information from 550 CFOs and CHROs.

The findings of the survey show that companies that have become more collaborative over the past three years report financial growth and stronger improvement in a number of HR metrics, such as employee engagement and productivity.

From EY’s research, four key factors were identified as reasons that have driven HR leaders and CFOs closer over those three years:

  • Finding good talent is hard and labor costs are increasing.
  • The importance of HR is rising in corporate hierarchy.
  • Companies are constantly developing new products and services to adapt to the rapidly changing business environment.
  • In an effort to achieve greater success and efficiency, more organizations are transforming their business models.

“…Typically, CFOs have tended to view human capital primarily as a cost, while CHROs have viewed it primarily as an asset that requires investment,” Dina Pyron, Global Human Capital Leader at EY says. “To really maximize employee engagement and improve workforce productivity…the CFO and CHRO need to find ways to increase collaboration effectively and efficiently.”

Having highly-efficient teams that can interact with each other to achieve business goals and eliminate inefficiency is a desire of all employers. Here are some blog posts that offer tips in creating better collaboration and teamwork among the different groups at your organization:

 

Contingent Workers a Win-Win

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

In today’s post Pat Rountree, an HR Advisor on CAI’s Advice and Resolution Team, shares valuable information about contingent workers and how they are transforming the workplace.

Pat Rountree, HR Advisor

Pat Rountree, HR Advisor

The contingent workforce is changing.

Contingent workers include staffing agency employees, independent contractors, consultants, freelancers and generally workers who are not direct hires with an ongoing employment relationship.

The recession of 2009 and slow recovery caused businesses to move cautiously in adding headcount. Many businesses moved to more contingent workers as a hedge against the slow recovery. The contingent workforce has continued to grow since then, and there are some estimates that contingent workers will represent nearly half the workforce by 2020.

The benefits for businesses are flexibility in hiring skilled workers as needed to meet project needs that are not ongoing without adding to fixed costs. Technology has enabled businesses to more easily search for and recruit contingent talent.

However, another change is taking place. Many workers are contingent by choice. This work lifestyle offers opportunities to use their skills and experience personal growth through exposure to different business environments. Contingent workers like the flexibility, opportunity to manage their career and make more money (for those with in-demand talent).

Who makes up the contingent workforce?

  • Remote talent made available through technology
  • Older workers who no longer want to work full time but have knowledge, skills and abilities that are valuable and marketable to businesses on a consulting basis
  • Millenials who do not expect or want to work for one employer for more than 15 to 18 months, and who also want rapid career growth, work-life balance and to be free agents
  • Those who make a temporary lifestyle for a time-out from regular work while staying at home with children, caregiving or other personal responsibilities
  • Workers that are unable to find regular employment and are contingent workers by necessity

As businesses and workers change, there can be a win-win. Businesses can recruit talent to supplement the regular workforce and take on unique projects that are outside the skills or talent available in-house. This allows them to ramp up or scale down quickly to meet demand without affecting core employees. And, individuals with desirable talent and skills can take advantage of the contingent workforce market by actively managing their career without being tied down to a long-term commitment.

If you have questions about using contingent workers at your organization, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

What Does It Mean to Be an HR Business Partner?

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

In today’s video blog, CAI’s Vice President of Membership, Doug Blizzard, discusses the role of an HR business partner. He mentions that the term HR business partner was coined in the late 1990s (incorrectly mentioned as 1977 in the video) and the role was meant to increase the effectiveness of HR by aligning it more closely to what the business actually needed.

Doug says on a broader level HR business partner refers to a shift in HR towards a focus on business results. This mindset involves a deep understanding of the company’s business model, and the role assists in presenting business solutions to people issues.

Traditionally HR professionals have focused their attention on tasks such as payroll, compliance, recruiting, and administration. Doug says these typical HR tasks aren’t going away, but now organizations are outsourcing some of those traditional tasks. Companies are now hoping their HR teams can help them with tasks that involve more strategy, which can include talent management, employee engagement, workforce planning, and leadership.

Companies are hungry for HR professionals who focus on business results and who are able to leverage their people as a competitive advantage. Doug lists additional characteristics of a desirable HR team member in the video.

If you have additional questions about the role of an HR business partner, please contact Doug at 919-713-5244 or Doug.Blizzard@capital.org.

 

Improving Employee Attitudes Toward Safety in the Workplace

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

In today’s post, Advice and Resolution team member Renee’ Watkins shares ways in which you can help your employees keep safety as a top priority in the workplace.

Renee' Watkins, HR Advisor

Renee’ Watkins, HR Advisor

Most safety managers will agree that the most difficult part of implementing a safety policy is getting employees to take safety seriously and to support the policy as it relates to them and to their fellow team members.

In the day-to-day production environment, where employees have a specific set of tasks to execute each day, safety concerns regarding the safe and proper execution of these tasks are often overlooked as routine redundancy takes over. The repetitive nature of the process can sometimes cause employees to implement shortcuts or even ignore safety precautions.

This is further complicated by taking new hires through the safety policy training only to have them mentored by someone who does not take safety seriously and undermines everything they have been taught through onboarding.

So, how does a safety manager promote safety policy throughout the organization with existing employees and alter their thought process to put safety at the forefront of everything they do? Below are three lessons and insights taken from high-stake manufacturing and construction industries that may help safety managers engage their employees in supporting a safety policy across the board.

Demonstrate Employee Wellness as a Priority

Ensure that corporate leadership prioritizes wellness in the workplace with a healthy balance of employer-sponsored benefits for both the physical and emotional well-being of the workforce. Opportunities for gym memberships, nutrition analysis and professional counseling are just a few examples of how management can show concern for their employees’ overall health.

Involve Employees in Safety Policy and Engagement

Communication should be a two-way street in order for any policy to work effectively. Regular emails or other policy reminders with regard to safety in the workplace will serve to remind everyone that safety is a priority, as well as a concern. Employees should also be involved in providing feedback to management relating to any safety concerns they notice or would like to see incorporated into a policy. An open-door approach, which encourages employees to speak freely if they feel there is a risk on the production floor, should be present and communicated.

Measure Employee Stress Levels

Employees are often unable to separate their professional lives from their personal lives and many have issues they deal with on both sides of the fence each and every day. Management in every level of the organization should pay close attention to the overall emotional health of their employees and act to offer assistance at any time when something seems amiss. Team members who may know the details of what their fellow co-workers are facing should be encouraged to speak up and inform management when they feel involvement is warranted, without fear of being exposed for breaking the confidence of their co-worker.

These techniques can also apply to more than just manufacturing and construction, and will help safety managers to convey the importance of employee safety with management’s full support. By demonstrating a genuine concern for employee safety and promoting that concern through frequent and consistent communications with the workforce, safety in the workplace will remain at the forefront of each worker’s mind as they go about the execution of their daily tasks.

For additional help with your company’s safety efforts, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.